cooking minette’s italian wedding soup

how to make a delicious gluten free italian wedding soup {sort of} with lots of yummy meatballs and baby kale:

gluten free italian meatball soup with organic meatballs & baby kale

what do you do when you find yourself with a huge bag of beautiful organic baby kale you couldn’t resist buying at the store? you think about all sorts of ways you might use said kale in foods and salads before it goes bad (we’re talking a HUGE bag). if you’re me, for some odd reason, you think about a steaming hot bowl of italian wedding soup loaded with luscious meatballs. and then you go from there-starting the meatballs by combining a few simple ingredients in a bowl: organic (grass fed) ground beef, thinly sliced scallions, chopped italian parsley, sea salt, pepper, a touch of smoked paprika (just because), and just a hit of chick pea flour (or corn flour). once you’ve rolled the little meatballs and added them to a pot of sizzling minced onions in olive oil, you are almost there. it’s been cold out there this winter (in most areas of the world)-take heart: this soup truly warms you inside and out. better start rolling those meatballs!

ingredients for 4 servings of minette’s italian wedding soup:

  • cooking minette's meatballs for soup1 pound organic ground beef (or turkey)-preferably 7% fat only
  • 1 medium to large onion, finely chopped
  • a bunch of scallions (green onions) finely sliced (6-8)
  • a small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste (for salt, per bon appetit: as a rule, about 1 tsp per pound will make for perfectly salted meatballs)
  • 2-3 tsp chickpea flour (or corn flour)-some might add breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (optional) or cayenne pepper for spicy
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes (roma tomatoes are good) finely cubed
  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1.5-2 cups of organic baby kale (adjust amount to taste, or substitute with spinach if you prefer)
  • 1/2-1 cup italian gluten fee (or your choice) orzo
  • 3 cups preferably homemade beef or chicken broth
  • 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • good freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. cooking minette's gluten free italian wedding soupmake the meatballs by combining meat, scallions, 2/3rds of the parsley, sea salt & freshly ground pepper, smoked paprika, and chick pea flour in a bowl and mixing by hand (use gloves)-the light touch of your hands incorporates all the ingredients without crushing the meat. don’t over-mix into a paste–full pieces of ground meat should still be visible. add a few teaspoons of water if necessary. gluten free orzo for souproll little balls (bite size is best for soup) out of the mixture and set aside on a plate.
  2. heat the oil in a dutch oven, add onions and fry on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes before adding the meatballs carefully and allowing them to brown on one side (medium heat) before turning them carefully to brown the kale in soup
  3. when the meatballs and onions are browned, add 3-4 cups of water and three cups of broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow the meatballs to cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. add cubed tomatoes (or stewed tomatoes from a jar) and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  5. add the orzo and allow it to cook until they plump up and become tender, then add the remaining parsley and the kale. add a little more broth to the pot if necessary, then cook for another 15 minutes. add the lemon juice (to taste) before serving. taste and adjust seasoning.
  6. sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  7. buon appetito!cooking minette's italian wedding soup


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koofteh berenji: persian rice meatballs

persian meatballs
i’ve been asked by several people to make koofteh {کوفته} or persian rice meatballs since i started food blogging. koofteh comes from “kuftan-کوفتن” which means  (“to beat, grind, break”). when i think about it, i clearly remember my grandma mixing the ingredients in her big bowl, carefully twisting and turning her hands around to bring all the ingredients together in to a paste like texture-and mostly i remember the strong appetizing smell of savory drifting around as she did this. when i came across some fresh summer savory {marzeh} at the market yesterday, i took it as a sign that it was time for me to make some of these delicious meatballs. i have made them before, but it’s been a while, and i’ve typically asked my mom (who makes the most delicious ones ever) to make my koofteh for dinner parties. so i call her for the recipe after i begin to cook this morning-which means i had already started boiling the rice and split peas before she tells me to skip them (split peas) altogether and substitute chick pea flour– which i was out of- – -next time. mom explains the process to me in great detail and with such passion that my mouth starts watering- and then, just before we hang up she says: “don’t forget the saffron!”-to which i say “of course not”, although frankly, i probably would have-saffron makes (almost) all persian dishes taste that much better. i go to work (and it is some work to prepare these), and the resulting koofteh’s make the house smell heavenly, then disappear far too quickly off the platter. next time i’ll have to try the chick pea flour-even though my meatballs were good, mom’s are by far better!



  • 1 pound (organic grass fed) ground beef
  • 1/2 cup rice, cooked (or not cooked, according to mom)
  • 1/4 cup split peas cooked well (or substitute 2-3 tbs chick pea flour, per mom’s recipe)
  • 1 large bunch fresh summer savory leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch tarragon leaves or flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 8-10 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tbs turmeric
  • 1 large onion, fried (piaz dagh) see recipe for fried onions
  • 2 organic eggs
  • vegetable oil (for frying the onions)
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • sea salt & cracked pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp sour grapes (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground saffron or a few strands seeped in 2 tbs hot water
the meat ball with fried onions and cinnamon inserted in the middle

1. combine beef, cooked rice, split peas (or preferably chick pea flour) salt & pepper, chopped herbs, green onions, 1 tbs turmeric, and eggs in a deep bowl-mix really well, pressing down on the mixture as you combine and almost “beat” it for a few minutes.
2. start making the meat balls (something between a golf ball and a tennis ball-your choice-it’s best just under a tennis ball size) by rolling portions of the mixture between your hands.
3. make a hole in the middle of the meatballs with your finger and insert some fried onion (piaz dagh), a dash of cinnamon, and even optionally some chopped walnuts or chopped cooked eggs. close up the hole and roll again in to a nice tight ball.

water, fried onions, sea salt, cracked pepper, turmeric, & sour grapes ready for the meatballs

4. when you have all the meat balls ready, add about 1.5-2 cups of water to a pot (not too deep), about 2 tbs fried onions, 1 tbs turmeric, sea salt, pepper, a few sprigs of the herbs, and the sour grapes.
5. bring to a boil, then carefully place the meat balls in the pan and let them simmer for five minutes on one side, then turn, sprinkle or drizzle with the saffron, partially cover with a lid and let simmer on low for 45 minutes to an hour.

place the meatballs in the liquid carefully and simmer on one side for about 5-7 minutes before turning
MOM’S famous meatballs
sour grapes!
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